Sheppard, Jair hit first Hyundai A-League goals as Jets see off Roar
FFA Cup star Kaine Sheppard and Brazilian forward Jair both broke their Hyundai A-League ducks to deliver Newcastle Jets a 2-0 home win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
The off-season recruits eased the ongoing absence of Roy O'Donovan with one apiece either side of half-time as Ernie Merrick's men celebrated their 350th match in the competition with a spot in the top six.
The result is Newcastle's club-record fourth successive victory over ninth-placed Roar, who are now two points adrift of the Finals Series places at the conclusion of Round 7.
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With Adam Taggart watching from the bench, Brisbane began brightly enough as only Glen Moss’ outstanding fingertip save prevented Eric Bautheac from scoring with a deft touch in the 16th minute.
Newcastle soon established a foothold and it was through Sheppard that they ended a six-game goalless run in first halves at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The former Avondale FC forward darted to the near post and expertly guided in a first-time finish from Daniel Georgevski’s low cross a minute into added time.
Right-back Georgievski almost helped the hosts double their advantage within moments of the restart, but Vargas’ stooped header came back off the post.
Merrick’s men would not have to wait long for their second, though, as a Roar turnover high up the pitch allowed Dimitri Petratos to lead a long counter-attack and tee up Jair for an emphatic 58th-minute finish.
Taggart's introduction for the final 20 minutes failed to spark the visitors into life and, having now conceded twice in each of their past eight away trips, John Aloisi's were left with consecutive defeats for the first time this term.
See all the goals and recap the key incidents in our LIVE BLOG below.